Browns GM Andrew Berry said Friday during his pre-draft press conference that he prefers to trade back rather than trade up when it comes to exchanging picks on draft day, and that statement isn't surprising based on his trade history during his three drafts since he became a GM.
The Browns have completed seven total draft day trades under Berry, and just one of them — when the Browns moved up from No. 59 overall to No. 52 in 2021 to draft LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah — involved moving up in the draft.
Berry suggested it's unlikely the Browns reverse that trend this week, even though 73 other players will be drafted before they're on the board for the first time.
"I think it's more situationally dependent on how the board falls quite honestly," he said. "Ultimately, what is the acquisition cost to move up from 74 to the third pick in the draft? I wouldn't say there is a hard and fast rule, but generally speaking, because we look at the draft more through a long-term lens, we probably in general would be more apt to move back than necessarily move up."
Check out which players draft analysts are mocking to the Browns with their first pick at No. 74 overall
With eight picks in the draft, the Browns have plenty of ammunition to consider all trades and possibly acquire more picks beyond 2023. Eight picks is a lot for a team that has nearly all of its starting roster spots filled and has stable depth in several positions, and if Berry isn't a fan of the group of players available around the time of one of those picks, he'll certainly be working the phones to see what trade possibilities exist.
Berry stopped short, however, of expressing a belief that the Browns don't have room on their roster for eight rookies. If a trade happens, it won't necessarily be because the Browns are looking to lessen the quantity of their rookie class.
"I think each year is a little bit different in that regard," he said. "Who knows? You get wiped out because of injury in camp or a guy surprises you in either direction, it may change how you think about adding youth to the roster. We don't really go into it with the mentality of 'can seven or eight guys make the team?' … There are some years that we started off with seven and ended up with six. I think a lot can happen between now and the end of the weekend, but also now and when you start the season."
Trade possibilities will obviously be a big part of Berry's discussion with his front office cohorts in the days leading up to the draft. It's possible the Browns could have trades outlined with teams already before the draft begins, but with no pick until 74th overall, Berry also expressed the importance of waiting to see how the draft board falls before decisions are made about any of their picks.
In previous drafts, Berry said he's built trades in both ways.
"There have been certain points where we thought based on what we anticipated the board to look like, where we might have been looking for an escape hatch or we may be interested in trading up," he said. "There are plenty of other situations where we have a player that we like, and then you get a call a couple picks away or on Friday or Saturday morning or early afternoon. Here's an opportunity that we have discussed in generalities when we were doing our strategy planning, but we didn't necessarily anticipate what would actually come available to us, and then you consider it a little bit differently."
If the Browns look to exchange this year's capital for more in the future, keep in mind that they have seven picks available in 2024 and seven in 2025. They're still without a first-round pick in 2024 as part of the Deshaun Watson trade deal, but they currently own all seven of their own picks for 2025.
Here's a look back at Berry's past trade history on draft day.
Traded second-round pick (No. 41) to Colts in exchange for second-round pick (No. 44) and fifth-round pick (No. 160)
The Browns traded back three spots to grab S Grant Delpit in the second round. The fifth-round pick they acquired was used to draft C Nick Harris, while the Colts picked RB Jonathan Taylor with their pick.
Traded third-round pick (No. 74) and seventh-round pick (No. 244) to Saints in exchange for third-round pick (No. 88) and 2021 third-round pick
The Saints traded up with the Browns to draft LB Zach Baun in the second round. The Browns selected DT Jordan Elliott with their third-round pick.
Traded second-round (59) and third-round (89) picks to Carolina for second-round (52) and fourth-round (113) picks
The Browns moved up to grab Owusu-Koramoah, who was regarded by many draft analysts as a first-round worthy player. The Panthers drafted WR Terrace Marshall Jr. with the second-round pick they acquired.
Traded fourth-round (113) and seventh-round (257) picks to Detroit for a fifth-round (153) pick and 2022 fourth-round pick
The Browns traded one of three fourth-round picks they had to move back to the fifth-round and acquire another seventh-round pick. LB Tony Fields was drafted in the fifth round.
Traded second-round pick (44th) to Texans for a third-round pick (68th) and two fourth-round picks (108th and 124th)
The Browns added three picks to move back 24 spots for their first draft selection last year, which they used to draft CB M.J. Emerson Jr., DT Perrion Winfrey and K Cade York, respectively.
Traded fourth-round (118) pick to Vikings for fifth-round (156) and 2023 fourth-round pick
The Browns drafted RB Jerome Ford with the fifth-round pick they acquired in this deal.
Traded CB Troy Hill to Los Angeles Rams for 2023 fourth-round pick
The Browns' pick acquired in this deal will slot in at No. 140 overall.